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Apple Remains Supply Chain Star

High-tech companies continue to rank well in Garter Inc.'s Supply Chain Top 25, an annual listing rating companies' supply chain prowess based on financial results and the opinion of peers and analysts.

{complink 379|Apple Inc.} held onto the No. 1 position for the fourth year in a row. {complink 1544|Dell Inc.} ranked second, followed by consumer products company P&G. {complink 4644|Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM)}, which was new to the list last year, rose to No. 4, and Amazon, another newcomer last year, was No. 5 in the 2011 ranking.

Four key themes emerged this year among the leaders, said Debra Hofman, research vice president at Gartner, in a press release, including how they deal with volatility, their approaches to value chain network integration, their focus on sustainable execution and their abilities to orchestrate.

Gartner made note of two disparate business models that both manage to build effective supply chains. Companies that are vertically integrated, such as Samsung, and companies that extensively outsource, such as Cisco, both have developed what Gartner calls “resilient” supply chains.

From the release:

Gartner analysts said speed, agility, efficiency, responsiveness and innovation all remain critical, but equally important is a resilient supply chain. Companies like Cisco, Dow Chemical, RIM, Unilever and others are actively designing in structures, processes and methodologies to create and expand this resiliency not only in their own supply chains, but in those of their trading partners, as well…

The key isn't whether a company owns all the pieces of its network — it's how well it controls the outcome of the activities that take place in the network that end in the delivery of a final product to a customer.

More detailed analysis is available in the report, “The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2011.”

6 comments on “Apple Remains Supply Chain Star

  1. saranyatil
    June 7, 2011

    Apple wants to be on the top in all categories it looks like that, they are the stars in supply chain, best in smartphones, outstanding in their tablets and awesome in PC's and Mac's.

    For the place they own now i feel all the credit should go to Steve jobs.

    “The key isn't whether a company owns all the pieces of its network — it's how well it controls the outcome of the activities that take place in the network that end in the delivery of a final product to a customer,”

    This is definitely a well quoted statement, this is the right way on how we can measure the supply chain of a company. Its just not the customer satisfaction also includes how satisfied are your partners.

  2. mfbertozzi
    June 7, 2011

    Statistics could help in preparing rank, but I think also customers / users feeling is important to consider. It is quite strange for example Apple is still hold its star rank, but in some regions (i.e: Greece, Poland, KSA) are in progress official petitions requiring concrete steps from Apple in improving local stores, sales and support. Look for ” we want apple ” inside Internet search engines and keep an eye on results.

  3. Daniel
    June 7, 2011

    Apple industries are striving well without Steve Job also, sometimes back when Steve announced about his long leave everybody thought that may put an end to Apples success story. But still Apple is one of the driving forces in market. When compare with other products like Dell or P&G having global presence, the performance from Apple is very much appreciable.

  4. Taimoor Zubar
    June 7, 2011

    “Four key themes emerged this year among the leaders, said Debra Hofman, research vice president at Gartner, in a press release, including how they deal with volatility, their approaches to value chain network integration, their focus on sustainable execution and their abilities to orchestrate.”

    While these measures are important in assessing the nature of supply chain, I feel efficiency factor should also be considered in evaluating the performance of any supply chain. It is important to consider the relative cost of supply chain function in the overall costs and assess whether it's optimized enough and efficient. There can be cases where the supply chain functions within a company are smooth and reliable yet they may not be efficient in terms of the cost factor.

  5. Barbara Jorgensen
    June 7, 2011

    One of the things I like about this survey is part of it is based on peer opinion. Don't get me wrong–we need metrics and measurements– but sometimes good execution is an anecodote or an experience that doesn't lend itself to measurement.

  6. hwong
    June 22, 2011

    I usually read these types of survey with a grain of salt. People always tend to use the hottest company to use as Best practice or case study. Back in those days, Dell was the hottest supply chain company example. Then their sales dropped, no one really talked about them anymore.  Apple is doing well. People are saying that they must have a good supply chain. Things are so subjective. So always have to think while you read and absorb

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